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  1. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by postie1392
    so i think i will give the sony rdrdc another chance to redeem itself.
    I'm not familiar with your Sony model, and so don't know if it has an HDD. If it does, you should be using that, rather than recording directly to DVD. The latter method is going to wear out your burner much faster, and that is something whose service life you want to maximize.
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  2. UPDATE: I've done some further asking around, and unfortunately it seems when Pioneer imploded last year it took the Sony alliance down with it: 2010-model Sony DVD/HDD recorders like RDR-DC100 are no longer based on the superb Pioneer/Sony chassis of 2006-2009. The RDR-DC100, and apparently future Sony DVD/HDD recorders going forward, are now re-badged Samsung designs with far inferior features and operation. The excellent Pioneer/Sony interface with variable recording speeds, high speed lossless dubbing, bulletproof editing, etc, has been dropped.

    These new Sony/Samsungs cannot record directly to DVD without performing a crappy real-time re-compression of the incoming broadcast. There has been some debate in UK forums, and even Sony customer support itself seems confused, but the consensus is the new recorders usually lock out timer recording from broadcasts directly onto DVD media. All timer recordings are shunted to the HDD, which in this series of machines is the primary device. ALL dubs from the HDD to DVD are made as real time re-encodes with diminished quality: it is not possible to make high-speed lossless dubs to disc, nor is it possible to match the image quality of the HDD on a DVD transfer. Apparently the new Sony/Samsung line is designed primarily as an HDD PVR which just happens to have a DVD player built in, the disc recording "features" are prehistoric and editing is awkward to the point of unusable.

    So it seems Sony is now off the table as a decent DVD/HDD alternative, unless you can locate leftover stock of the superior 2008/2009 models in the RDR-HXx80 or RDR-HXx90 range. Amazingly, this leaves Panasonic as the only remaining DVD/HDD mfr still making recorders with the full feature set and quality from five years ago. (In North America, all we have is the Phillips/Magnavox H2160 model: Panasonic does not sell HDD-equipped models with DTV tuners here, only Europe, vice-versa with Phillips.) I'd strongly recommend postie1392 trade back the RDR-DC100 for a Panasonic, or an older HX-series Sony if one can be found.
    Last edited by orsetto; 9th Mar 2010 at 14:49.
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  3. Member
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    Wow that's sad to hear. It seems like basically all the quality recorders of yesteryear are gone
    Toshibas no longer made by Toshiba,
    JVCs no longer made by JVC,
    Pioneers gone and Sony no longer quality units,
    US EZ/EA Panasonics nothing like the previous years ES series,

    Seems like the rest of the world is following the US, and that's not a good thing
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  4. V Bot
    What model ilo? The 04 or 05 series. The 04 is made by liteon and had two models RHD04 with HDD, or D04 DVD Drive only. The 05 by Cyberhome. DVD drive only
    AND What issues
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  5. Postie, I would go for a SOny or Panasonic .. the pana768 sounds like a good combo of price and functions. I have a phillips5520 which is quite good but not physically robust enuff. One thing must be said, no recorder will work well if your signal is marginal or not perfect. I am lucky to have a direct LOS to Crystal Palace. But lesser recorders will baulk at signal dropouts, (rain birds or planes snow etc etc) while better quality ones will handle the "glips" better. Alternatively, send all your stuff back and wait for the New Freeview HD gear.. OOOh Suits you sir!
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  6. I have aPioneer 650H that records in both pal and ntsc , has lots of options and filters, but was made for singapore, so I am confused, if Pioneer are no longer in the dvd recorder business what is this:-


    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/560298-REG/Pioneer_DVR_LX70_DVR_LX70_Multi_Syste...r.html#reviews

    or

    http://cgi.ebay.ca/NEW-250GB-PIONEER-1080p-Region-Code-Free-DVD-Recorder_W0QQitemZ2304...item35a715bd9e
    Last edited by victoriabears; 10th Mar 2010 at 13:30.
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  7. Member classfour's Avatar
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    I'm moving towards capture cards. With a fast machine and a good card, you can beat a DVD recorder's quality and have an easier edit. I'm thinking about flooding craigslist with two old pannys LOL
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  8. I sort of feel lucky, at 57 my interest in current TV programming is minimal , hearing the 500th person saying "oh my God" or hugging everyone whilst risking a 5 ton truck falling in their mouths , has limited appeal.

    I watch stuff which I have archived , mainly from the UK.
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  9. Originally Posted by victoriabears View Post
    I have aPioneer 650H that records in both pal and ntsc , has lots of options and filters, but was made for singapore, so I am confused, if Pioneer are no longer in the dvd recorder business what is this:-


    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/560298-REG/Pioneer_DVR_LX70_DVR_LX70_Multi_Syste...r.html#reviews

    or

    http://cgi.ebay.ca/NEW-250GB-PIONEER-1080p-Region-Code-Free-DVD-Recorder_W0QQitemZ2304...item35a715bd9e
    Leftover stock of the 2007 & 2008 "generic" PAL/NTSC worldwide models, made for countries where Pioneer did not market targeted versions. Theres a surprisingly large number of these units still in the distribution pipeline, but spot shortages appear (especially in the US where video geek demand remains strong). The units on eBay with the histrionic multi-region nonsense promoted in HUGE FONTS are overpriced variations of the 2007 model 550 (Korean or Hong Kong usually), the LX70 was TOTL for the UK market and is insanely expensive due to its multiple PAL dtv tuners which are absolutely useless in North America. Other than these tuners, the LX is the same under its hood as the 560 and 660 multi-region models B&H used to have for $449 or so: those (or the Sony 780) are better buys if you can track them down.

    Sonys move to Samsung as its OEM definitely indicates the Pioneer recorder factories have shut down, and there have been no Pioneer recorders introduced since the spring 2008 range of 460-560-660 and the upmarket PAL-oriented LX models. Pioneer Canada-specific models disappeared from stores a year ago and were not replaced, with the similar Canadian-specific Sony RDR-HX780 also nearly gone. Pioneer refreshed its model lineup every single year from 2002 thru 2008, the lack of followup in 2009 and 2010 dovetails with the companys crash-and-burn just over a year ago (they are now basically just an adjunct to Honda as a supplier of car audio, with not much else on offer the past two years).
    Last edited by orsetto; 10th Mar 2010 at 17:31.
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  10. Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    Originally Posted by postie1392
    so i think i will give the sony rdrdc another chance to redeem itself.

    I'm not familiar with your Sony model, and so don't know if it has an HDD. If it does, you should be using that, rather than recording directly to DVD. The latter method is going to wear out your burner much faster, and that is something whose service life you want to maximize.
    it does have a hdd, and you can only record to the hdd there is no function to record direct to dvd.
    the problems i have been experiencing are all conected with dubbing from hdd to dvd.
    however, i have noticed that it is only when dubbing recordings made from a certain channel (namely virgin 1 on freeview) that i have a problem, recordings from other channels seem to be ok.

    also, you can only record from the digital tuner in what sony call dr or direct mode, which takes up a lot of room on the disk. you can dub to dvd in a lower quality format, but only in real time.
    you can dub at high speed when using -rw or -r discs,but only if you keep the same recording quality.

    you can record in the lower quality formats from the analogue tuner, but we only have 5 analogue channels in the uk, and they are being swiched off in 2012.
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    Originally Posted by postie1392 View Post
    in 2005 i bought my first dvd recorder an lg4912, and after about 6 months it began messing up my recordings, so eventualy i replaced it with a toshiba which also started messing up my recordings after about 6 months.
    just recently i have decided to get a dvd recorder with hdd, thinking that the hdd would be more reliable than dvd......wrong.

    first i got an lg rht497h, nice to look at but after less than a month had already screwed up 4 recordings, they would stick.
    so i returned it to the shop an replaced it with a sony rdrdc100, a truly awful machine which had ruined one of my recordings within 2 days.

    am i just unlucky or am i doing something wrong? or are all dvd/hdd recorders prone to ruining recordings, and if so, what is the point in them.

    i am going to take my sony back to the shop this week and try and change it for a panasonic. if i keep trying different brands surely i must eventualy find one that works ok, shouldn't i?

    I didn't get to read the comments but

    I think you just made bad choices....lg looks nice and that's it! I too was tempted a while back....even after being unable to get help at best buy, I bought 2 panasonics and have had almost zero issues.

    I'm tempted to get a monster hdd/dvd pioneer before they stop making them, because I fear my pannys may not last much longer and I just love how they work!

    I hope you made better choices later as there are plenty of comment ahead of me, I'm sure I'm not the only champion of panasonic and pioneer
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  12. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    . . . the 560 and 660 multi-region models B&H used to have for $449 or so: those (or the Sony 780) are better buys if you can track them down.

    Sonys move to Samsung as its OEM definitely indicates the Pioneer recorder factories have shut down, and there have been no Pioneer recorders introduced since the spring 2008 range of 460-560-660 and the upmarket PAL-oriented LX models. Pioneer Canada-specific models disappeared from stores a year ago and were not replaced, with the similar Canadian-specific Sony RDR-HX780 also nearly gone. Pioneer refreshed its model lineup every single year from 2002 thru 2008, the lack of followup in 2009 and 2010 dovetails with the companys crash-and-burn just over a year ago (they are now basically just an adjunct to Honda as a supplier of car audio, with not much else on offer the past two years).
    Hi Orsetto,

    I'm posting this here for a couple reasons. First, I just saw this online
    http://www.6ave.com/shop/Product.aspx?sku=PIOAVICU310BT
    which kind of puts a face on what (sadly) is left of the once high-flying Pioneer.

    Secondly, I also just saw this
    http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&stor...&id=203517&u=1
    which I'm mentioning here because I never took much note of which Sony models -- other than the one you cited in the post above -- may have been of interest. The demise of this category continues to be a perennial topic here, and from time to time I still get asked about what standalone recorder to buy -- the person asking this question having no clue that that ship sailed quite a while ago. Now it's pretty much down to eBay used gear, the uber-priced modded Pio multi-whatsis leftover stock, or get yourself a Tivo and read up on the probably-not-so-easy means for getting content OFF of there, if that happens to be important to you.

    I don't recall what your take on refurbs was . . . .
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    Maybe it's me, but I fail to see the connection between a navigation device and a hdd dvd recorder.....
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  14. seeker47 and I are old "forum friends", we bonded over Pioneer DVD recorder use, maintainence and upgrade questions. The reason he linked to the new Pioneer navigation/car audio device was to show whats left of the once-great Pioneer company: it isn't much unless you're into car audio. Pioneer was one of the hottest audio suppliers in the heyday of the '60s and '70s, their vintage turntables, amplifiers, tuners and receivers remain highly sought after on eBay for their style and performance. Once the middle-high-end audio market died off, Pioneer moved aggressively into consumer video disc technology, taking over LaserDisc from the hopelessly incompetent Phillips/MCA and singlehandedly evolving/supporting it for many years. They were among the first to see the potential in recordable DVD, providing the gold standard of initial DVD-R burners for Apple and other PCs. And they had arguably the most well-thought-out line of DVD/HDD machines from 2003-2008, with the 2004 DVR-520 and 2008 DVR-560 being very popular standouts. Throw in the gorgeous Kuro plasma TVs, and you had a great series of home video products. Unfortunately when the economy went sour in late 2008/early 2009, the tidal wave sank many fine mfrs overnight, including Pioneer. The company is now reduced to a shell brand for car audio products, barely rescued by Honda and Sharp.

    Refurbished recorders can be a good deal depending on the model and source. Many have done well with refurbs of the excellent Magnavox H2160 DVD/HDD recorder, at $159 the refurb steal of the century. Other refurbs don't fare so well, except maybe a few Panasonics (avoid the ATSC DVD/VHS combos). The Sony link is for an undistinguished DVD-only model, probably not worth getting excited about. The premium Pioneer 560 and Panasonic EH-59 are rarely available as refurbs, whatever stock is left tends to go fast at dealers like B&H, J&R, World Import, etc. Previous Sony Europe models made in collaboration with Pioneer were the x25, x80 and x90 series, European and Australian consumers might still find those around but they were recently replaced for 2010 with the much cruder Sony/LG models. Scattered reports from Canada indicate the Sony RDR-HX780 is still appearing in chain stores on closeout for $299, nice if you can find one (basically a Pioneer 640 with HDMI and iLink).
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
    Toshibas no longer made by Toshiba,
    JVCs no longer made by JVC,
    Pioneers gone and Sony no longer quality units,
    US EZ/EA Panasonics nothing like the previous years ES series,
    This Sony has really good quality: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001I59HSW?ie=UTF8&tag=thdifa-20&linkCode=as2&camp=17...SIN=B001I59HSW
    The RDR-GX257 is available at Amazon (online) and Walmart (some in-stores) both.

    Otherwise your observations are spot-on.
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  16. i have used firmware upgrades that sony are providing on there website:http://support.sony-europe.com/tvhc/dvbr/hdd/dvr/dvr.aspx?m=RDR-DC100 and everything SEEMS to be fine now. thanks for all your help...
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  17. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Refurbished recorders can be a good deal depending on the model and source. Many have done well with refurbs of the excellent Magnavox H2160 DVD/HDD recorder, at $159 the refurb steal of the century. Other refurbs don't fare so well, except maybe a few Panasonics (avoid the ATSC DVD/VHS combos). The Sony link is for an undistinguished DVD-only model, probably not worth getting excited about. The premium Pioneer 560 and Panasonic EH-59 are rarely available as refurbs, whatever stock is left tends to go fast at dealers like B&H, J&R, World Import, etc. Previous Sony Europe models made in collaboration with Pioneer were the x25, x80 and x90 series, European and Australian consumers might still find those around but they were recently replaced for 2010 with the much cruder Sony/LG models. Scattered reports from Canada indicate the Sony RDR-HX780 is still appearing in chain stores on closeout for $299, nice if you can find one (basically a Pioneer 640 with HDMI and iLink).
    A "lightly used" Pio 560 recently closed on eBay for $400., and they've probably sold used for more, as I've seen even some used 520s or 640s in good condition go for at least that much. Haven't seen any refurb offers for the 560 -- from regular dealers, as opposed to private sellers. If I was in the market for another DVDR, I'd look for the HX780 or the Magnavox model that you mention.
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  18. Far too goddamn old now EddyH's Avatar
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    Meh - after multiple bad experiences, I've pretty much resolved that I will never have a standalone DVD recorder (except if I find one of those holy-grail DVDR/VHS/HDD combis going cheap on eBay... better yet, the BluRay/VHS one I once saw advertised, and not on April 1st...). I'll skip at least this generation and see what comes next.

    Mind you it could just be the machines I've had to use, generally quite cheap, often VCR-combis. I'd think the same about PVR (having suffered one of the infamous Thompson TopUpTV crapsacks), if not for seeing others' much better experience with Sky+, Humax etc.

    All the same ... I'm not confident in it as a good recording medium as a whole. It generally seems like the captains of industry involved with it saw how popular this new, meant-for-HQ-playback-of-specially-prepped-discs format was becoming, and reverse-engineered the best solution they could manage in limited time (and without changing the existing playback hardware) to make it recordable. It's slow, unreliable, unpredictable, fragile, needlessly complicated for Joe Q Averageuser, and doesn't give anywhere near the image quality you'd expect, or be able to achieve even with a freeware non-realtime encoder. The longplay modes step down to resolutions BELOW VHS-LP in order to achieve the same runtime, fer cryin' out loud.

    And I haven't yet come across a VHS recorder, even the very, very, very cheapest, that make such a hash of the job as a randomly chosen DVDR. Particularly for live recording off-air. Only thing that's ever worked passably well is copying VHS tapes, and even then you have to allow a generous lead-in and -out (and knock 5 minutes or more off the estimated free space) to avoid losing parts of the titles and credits. Tape decks? They just work.

    Yeah, biased, and speaking from rather limited experience, but I'm not made of money. If it's not going to work halfway right the first 3 times, then I'm walking away...
    -= She sez there's ants in the carpet, dirty little monsters! =-
    Back after a long time away, mainly because I now need to start making up vidcapped DVDRs for work and I haven't a clue where to start any more!
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  19. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    I haven't been this confused about what actually happened since the day AOL took over Time Warner !
    Funny how AOL took over, then Steve Case left, then AOL was chucked out like trash a few years later. That was one of those really weird things that happened during the .com bubble.
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  20. EddyH, it all depends on budget and expectations. Those with bupkiss in their wallet and very high expectations for quality results are better off not bothering, period. Digital video recording is massively more convoluted than analog, even though VCRs seem way more complex mechanically. You cannot do good digital on the cheap, its impossible, and if you insist on a direct-to-DVD model instead of DVD/HDD you practically guarantee a bad experience. (Before LordSmurf chimes in to say he still gets fabulous results from his seven year old JVC DVD-only machines, I'd respectfully suggest he is an exception to this rule: LS has a skillset and ancillary hardware beyond the typical consumer). The problem with direct-to-DVD is that nobody makes blank media suitable for real-time recording anymore: its a dead end, despite direct-to-DVD recorders still being on store shelves. DVD-R recording must also adhere to compatibility standards which severely limit its ease of use and flexibility. It is far FAR preferable to use a recorder equipped with HDD, and make recordings to the HDD before burning the final DVD. The HDD allows VCR-like options for easy editing, custom thumbnails and chapter marks. The HDD allows using faster quality "speeds" for material that would normally not fit on a DVD, because you can cut out commercials and other extraneous junk before burning the DVD to make it fit. And so on.

    Consumer preference for one-box DVD/VHS machines is the greatest example of fantasy vs reality ever seen in the electronics industry: the damn things are horrible piles of crap, every single one, year after year they get worse instead of better. The VCR sections are awful, the DVD sections often fail to record altogether, and when they do they make lousy recordings. But consumers keep on buying them, hoping against hope "this time they'll get a good one". Bcause God forbid they should have to hook up a separate VCR, or the wife should have to dust two units instead of one. Mfrs give us what we ask for, and what we ask for are sh*tboxes priced under $150 with DTV tuners and VHS. Too bad.

    The only "combo" DVD/VHS recorders ever made that were worth a damn were the 2005/6 Panasonics, of those only one was a triple threat DVD/VHS/HDD, and even the Panasonics entailed major compromises over just plugging a VCR into a DVD/HDD recorder. Today in Europe you can still buy a couple of DVD/HDD/VHS triple combos, but these are pretty bad (mostly Toshiba-by-Funai built to a price models). The BluRay recorders we keep hearing are "available in other countries" are still largely vaporware: too expensive, especially for the doggedly cheapskate American market, and so clogged with DRM and copy protection chips you'd be lucky if it didn't call the FBI when you tried to dub your kids baby video from a camcorder. Forget it. Game over. Use your PC instead.
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  21. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    I'll be the first person to tell you that you need about $1,000 minimum budget to get decent work for VHS>DVD. Less money, and you're making mediocre crap that could have looked much better. And it takes knowledge and skill to get desired results. DVD recorders were made for people who want to record TV -- much like VCRs. I've been at this for years, and only recently (last 2-3 years) have I delved into the engineering aspects of it, to tackle serious projects (forensic recovery, etc).

    A DVD recorder was not made for the VHS>DVD crowd, regardless of what anybody wants to think, and ignoring the misinformation sometimes found relating to combo DVD/VHS units. Capture cards are largely in the same boat -- made for TV recording, although sometimes (often?) marketed for VHS>DVD, ignoring most facets and tenets of video theory. It's marketing lies at its finest.

    Indeed, what consumers asked for are, as orsetto put it, "sh*tboxes priced under $150 with DTV tuners". Too bad, indeed.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    or the wife should have to dust two units instead of one. .
    You've reminded me of something.

    I never cease to be amazed at the number of pussified men I come across, who need to pull their balls back out of their wife's purse, and tell her to keep quiet. For example:
    • "My wife said the new DVD player needs to match the new TV."
    • "My wife said we can only have one box because she doesn't want two remotes."
    Seriously, guys ... do you think she'd listen if you told her she could only have one pair of shoes?
    Or that her dresses had to match the color of your new car?
    Hell no, of course not.

    Stand your ground. Don't be nagged out of video quality.
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  23. My wonderful lady thoroughly enjoys the end results of this hobby and has no interest in how it gets to the screen or opinion.

    She is available as a role model for rent at $10,000 a day, no sex though.
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  24. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    The recent posts in this thread by lordsmurf and orsetto were right on the money, and I may have some comment there later. But I'm going to ask a slightly related question, prompted by the mention of capture cards vs. standalone recorders. It may sound a bit like it's coming dangerously close to a warez discussion, but that is not the real point or intent.

    It has become a long, drawn out comedy of provider errors that I won't bore you with here (and due to no fault of mine), but I have not had any real tv service for quite a while. At the same time, I really dislike watching any program material online, having to view it on the computer monitor. This has forced me to resort to -- ahem -- unofficial methods. Just about everyone who uses a computer must know by now that there are quite a few places online where you can download just about any popular show. (Or rather, obtain the info by which you can. I'm not talking about P2P, which I regard as risky, slo-mo BS, and a complete waste of time.) The possibly surprising thing is just how quickly after broadcast these things show up, even the 720p versions. Occasionally there are serious video or sound-sync problems with these, and you have to wait a few more hours for the corrected versions. Having to download the pieces, stick them together, and burn them is somewhat time and labor-intensive, and generally a pain, but lacking other good options, what are you gonna do ?

    Very often, this video material is in the form of H.264 inside of an .MKV container -- I'm guessing because it offers the best quality with a reasonable file size. Anyway, I'm nearly certain that whoever recorded these sources could not have been using a standalone recorder. Probably not even for the XVID, standard def versions. And no standalone ever recorded in 720p. My question then is just what capture-card-in-a-computer type of solutions might they be using, considering how good the quality can be, and how quick their turnaround time seems to be ? Remember that they still have to deal with the additional steps of transcoding it into the form that is made available for download, and the time to upload the segments to the various filehosting services. This whole shadow community is rather impressive in its efficiency and sheer persistence, even as it must be driving all the DMCA-takedown folks crazy.
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  25. Far too goddamn old now EddyH's Avatar
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    Orsetto: Or in other words, unless you buy an expensive machine and manage to get hold of gold-dust media, it's a dead end format...

    What I've ended up doing quite a lot, though it's of questionable legality (I hold it's fair use, particularly as it's tantamount to VHS recording and we pay our license fee) is using a handy little thing called get_iplayer, which slurps VoD streams from the BBC site to hard disk. It's not superbly reliable (loses the occasional keyframe or need several retries to successfully DL) but it's a heckuva lot faster than most other means and it can go to ED or 720p HD rez for programs that support it (though annoyingly only 25p, not 50i/50p). I've piled up a lot of stuff on my HDD using that and even discovered a lot of things. Plus it's easy to keep.... can get about 7 hours of good quality onto a DVDR and as it's non-realtime recording I can check the disk and reburn if needed.

    Victoriabears may be interested in seeing if her UK contact can get with that particular program as it'd beat throwing lots of tapes/discs across the ocean - either just a few DVDRs or even end up sending it over the net by private P2P
    (can't access iPlayer on a foreign IP)... the corporation is still churning out a GREAT deal of good material after all, though you have to pick your way through all the reality shows etc they have to make in order to compete for ratings.


    EDIT: Funny thing LS ... copying VHS > DVD is about the only thing I've had success using DVD recorders for - in fact once I figured how to deal with all their foibles it worked reasonably well. End quality was shocking in a lot of cases, of course, but it served a need. Very much a case of YMMV then!

    And a lot of people - including myself - would find even $150 shitboxes a little out of our price range. I'd LOVE a $500 one, but I haven't got that sort of money, and if I "need" a recorder... well. In fact, call me when it hits $100. I'm hoping the same effect doesn't hold for Blu-ray players, because for our new wing we originally had $600 ones specified and now it's more likely to be $200 or less. The bottom has fallen out of the budget, but the one thing they're not going to cut back on is the amount of new presentation floorspace, and we're going to have to fill it with *something*.

    I'm not going to expect superb quality for that, I'm not an idiot. But I would expect it to function. I'd at least ask manufacturers that, if you cant make your machine WORK in that price bracket, however void of features it has to be, don't bother shaving it down to that level. If I really really want it, and there's nothing around I can immediately afford, I'll either save up, or buy a used one, facilitating the previous owner's desire to upgrade to a better new one. It's the fact that the cheap ones are so unreliable that I take issues with - a bargain basement cassette recorder will have (had...?) a fuzzy image, dull mono sound, wind slowly and have a very basic timer... but you will be able to RELY on it providing that functionality. You'll still be able to record that programme that's showing whilst you're at work/asleep and be able to watch it in some form. Rather than coming home/waking up to a coaster or partial record that missed the beginning because of the time taken to spin up and prep the disk, then fails halfway because of a media error.

    BTW I & my brother managed to talk the lady of the house into the multi-box idea, but this sort of problem still rears its ugly head. However, I'd certainly steer clear of having a cheap combo, having seen the sort of issues that come out of ones I luckily didn't buy myself; that'd be a long-time-save-up-for treat.
    (for perspective, $1500 at the moment represents the purchase of a vehicle that has to get me to and from work at highway speeds every day. Not flush, particularly for tech.)
    Last edited by EddyH; 26th Apr 2010 at 09:04.
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  26. Originally Posted by EddyH View Post
    Orsetto: Or in other words, unless you buy an expensive machine and manage to get hold of gold-dust media, it's a dead end format...
    Yep, sorry: its a nasty truth nobody wants to believe or hear. Digital video recording on DVDs might as well be a technology from outer space, you can't even consider it in the same universe as a VCR. People naturally expect a standalone DVD recorder aimed at consumers would be at least as chaep and reliable as a VCR would have been in 1989, but it just isn't the case. There are many reasons behind this which have been talked to death here and elsewhere, some of it is technical but a surprisingly large part stems from cultural and pricing issues. People forget VCRs were a groundbreaking, game changing product: there was no such thing as home video until VHS/Beta came along. The incredible utility of such an idea combined with it being the first of its kind allowed a long development cycle not seen in very many electronics products since. Because of the actual and perceived value, consumers did not fight the idea of the $1000 VCR: they took it for granted this is what it cost to enjoy owning such a device. Mfrs were able to sell the initial models and not lose money on them, the market rapidly expanded and as more VCRs sold mfrs were slowly able to evolve production efficiencies and economies of scale. This they gladly passed on to consumers as steadily lower prices with improved features. By the time DVD players came along in 1997, you could buy a really nice Panasonic VCR for $99 that had more features and reliability than the $1199 Panasonic of 1981. Granted, it didn't look as nice because of all the plastic instead of metal and wood, but it didn't weigh 53 lbs, either.

    None of that history repeated with DVD recorders. The novelty of home video recording had long since worn off, consumers were addicted to the $99 price point, and the benefits of DVD recording over a VCR (especially DVD/HDD) are not immediately obvious as worth $500: you have to use the machines yourself and get your own impressions. The problem is, just because consumers were bored with home video recording and liked a $99 price point, that doesn't mean launching DVD recorders was any cheaper for mfrs than launching VCRs was. New products are expensive to introduce, digital video is vastly more complex than a VCR. Mfrs could not simply start offering $99 DVD recorders immediately, the damn things cost them $400 to build at first. Unfortunately the ship had sailed, consumers balked at the cost, and soon cable / satellite PVRs took over for timeshifting (which is all most people do anyway). The market (in North America- elsewhare its different) just wasn't there for a $500-700 video recorder. Cheap recorders were rushed out in a desperate attempt to build up sales, but they were unreliable crap and the switch to DTV broadcast and digital tuners made them even more unreliable. Plus, a DVD recorder without a hard drive is a giant friggin pain to use day-to-day: its easy to forget recordable DVD (and CD before it) are essentially computer-based formats that work best when mastered off a hard drive source file, any sort of "direct to disc' real-time use goes against their very nature.

    And a lot of people - including myself - would find even $150 shitboxes a little out of our price range.
    I have no argument with budgets and so forth, of course people can only afford what they can afford. Unfortunately some product categories like DVD recorders don't lend themselves to a "good better best" or "budget midrange high-end" lineup strategy: the $ baseline required to make a usable, reliable DVD recorder starts somewhere north of "midrange" ("budget" = complete waste of your time). And again, not to be a wise-ass, but just as many people were broke and on a tight budget in 1981 as today. If they wanted a VCR, and the chaepest one was $699, they found a way to buy it. I'm not being facetious here: I understand about money being tight, I'm a freelancer who goes months at a time unemployed, I "get it" about the money angle. My point is once a culture gets accustomed to a certain price then theres no turning back, similar but new-improved devices either meet that established price point or they perish (or linger on in a zombie half-life as awful compromise designs everyone hates, i.e. the current Panasonic EZ-48 dvd/vhs combo from hell).

    The Magnavox H2160 DVD/HDD recorder currently sells for $227 at Wal*Mart, there is no refuting that price is an absolute steal for the utility and functionality. Similar machines from Pioneer, Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic sold for $500+ when last available in USA stores, and they didn't even have an ATSC tuner like the Magnavox. But $227 is still thought of as "ridiculously expensive" by typical consumers who aren't usually thinking of the mitigating issues. If they stopped to add up the cost of the alternatives, the DVD/HDD machine would make more sense: first off, you can avoid buying any blank media if all you do is watch-and-erase, thats a big savings right there, and if you factor the $10+ per month cost of renting a cable/satellite PVR it could pay for the Magnavox within a year. Naturally there are other considerations: you may prefer the ease of use and integration of the cable/satellite PVR, if so the monthly fee will be well worth it to you.

    Regarding "gold dust media", this is again cultural. Standalone DVD recorders failed in the USA, period: they are not even remotely a consideration for blank media mfrs. The overwhelming majority of blank DVDs are sold to people (often kids) who want to pirate video games, rental DVDs, and archive DiVX downloads. These tasks are done on a computer, computers use very quick generic burnes, so retail blank DVDs are 90% optimized for use on new computers where they can burn reliably at 16x-22x speed. To achieve the price points required for weekend superstore sales circulars, compatibility with slow, picky DVD recorders was sacrificed. If you use a DVD recorder, your best bet is to order 8x premium media from online suppliers: these days its available for only a couple dollars more than a spindle of cruddy 16x Memo-wrecks at a chain store ($27 delivered to your home for 100 TY 8x DVD-R vs $19.95+tax for generic 16x media at Staples or OfficeMax). Occasionally a big chain will put Verbatim 16x on sale for $9.95 or $12.95, these can be very good but the 8x Verbatim or TY are still better in standalones.
    Last edited by orsetto; 26th Apr 2010 at 13:07.
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  27. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    . . . None of that history repeated with DVD recorders.
    Spot-on historical recap, excellently stated.

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    . . .
    The Magnavox H2160 DVD/HDD recorder currently sells for $227 at Wal*Mart, there is no refuting that price is an absolute steal for the utility and functionality. Similar machines from Pioneer, Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic sold for $500+ when last available in USA stores, and they didn't even have an ATSC tuner like the Magnavox. But $227 is still thought of as "ridiculously expensive" by typical consumers who aren't usually thinking of the mitigating issues. If they stopped to add up the cost of the alternatives, the DVD/HDD machine would make more sense: first off, you can avoid buying any blank media if all you do is watch-and-erase, thats a big savings right there, and if you factor the $10+ per month cost of renting a cable/satellite PVR it could pay for the Magnavox within a year. Naturally there are other considerations: you may prefer the ease of use and integration of the cable/satellite PVR, if so the monthly fee will be well worth it to you.
    From you previous post, I got the impression that these were all but gone by this point. Not so ?
    Remind me -- what was the situation re the replaceability of this model's HDD or burner, down the line ? Surely it would not have been in the rare camp of the Lite-On or Polaroid models that made this a fairly trivial matter ?
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  28. Member ricoman's Avatar
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    I have an old Panny ES10 that still works fine. Every week for years I recorded the Sopranos for my buds who didn't have HBO. Yes, that's right the old Pannys could record from HBO, Showtime and On Demand. I will cry when this machine finally breaks.
    Others who know about the ES10 still find them on ebay from time to time.
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    Originally Posted by ricoman View Post
    I have an old Panny ES10 that still works fine. Every week for years I recorded the Sopranos for my buds who didn't have HBO. Yes, that's right the old Pannys could record from HBO, Showtime and On Demand. I will cry when this machine finally breaks.
    Others who know about the ES10 still find them on ebay from time to time.
    Could you possibly have a DMR-E10 instead? If not, then something other than the DVD recorder is responsible for your success. I have an Panasonic DMR-ES10 that I purchased in 2005. The manual say it obeys CGMS-A restrctions, and I have seen for myself that it does.
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  30. Member ricoman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Could you possibly have a DMR-E10 instead? If not, then something other than the DVD recorder is responsible for your success. I have an Panasonic DMR-ES10 that I purchased in 2005. The manual say it obeys CGMS-A restrctions, and I have seen for myself that it does.
    Nope, it's an ES10 and I've recorded directly from HBO and also recorded off of my DVR because it's easier to set program times. It's been a few years, but I remember in forums people discussing that with the ES15 (I think) you could no longer record the protected programs because the recorder makers were forced by Hollywood (or Hollywood forced legislation) in new recorders to add a feature to block protected programming. Prior to that there were a number of makes that didn't include the block feature. At that time there was a run on these recorders.
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